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Summer Career Design Workshop Series: Building Your Personal Brand

Do you have special expertise or skill in a certain area? How do others see you, and how do you want to be seen? This career development session helps job seekers and career pivoters consider how to develop and influence public perception to elevate credibility and authority in their industry of choice. Reserve a spot for the next session on August 4.

The four-part Columbia University Summer Session Career Design Workshop Series provides summer visiting students with resources and strategies for successfully navigating the job market, including using designing thinking to devise one’s career plan; distinguishing oneself during job interviews; and creating a strong personal brand. The last event in the series, Building Your Personal Brand, will be facilitated by Louise A. Rosen, the Senior Associate Dean of Administrative Affairs and Communications at the School of Professional Studies.

Rosen, who is also a lecturer in environmental policy at the School of International and Public Affairs, led interactive discussion prompts and exercises to assist students with developing unique and valuable personal brands. Rosen shared some of the following tactics.

  • Start by writing your personal statement. Rosen advises students to write a two-sentence statement that captures their mission, expertise, and competitive advantage. To devise the statement, students should consider questions such as “What’s important to you? What do you care about? What are the characteristics that you have that are helpful?” This statement, Rosen says, should be the foundation from which students “think about everything else that [they] will create, share, or post, and how frequently.” 
  • Review your public profiles. Rosen encourages students to take inventory of the social media platforms and websites on which they appear. Consider which profiles should be private versus public. In addition, students should conduct internet searches of their names to assess areas for improvement. What’s in alignment with the statement and what is not? When creating new content that supports one’s personal brand, Rosen says, students should think about what it is and how it is that you want to be perceived…think about the first impression we want to make.”
  • Build—and tweak—your brand over time with consistency. During the event, students describe a series of logos presented on a screen. By displaying well-known logos for brands like Columbia and Nike, Rosen demonstrates the power of laser-focused and consistent messaging over time. Like businesses, individuals can assert their strengths and characteristics by joining discrete communities and trending, relevant conversations. Students should add value by problem-solving in a way that showcases their unique perspectives and specialties. Rosen also encourages students to find and meet their target audiences where they are most engaged, pointing to platforms such as WeChat and Signal. 

Previous events in the series included a Career Design Workshop, led by Diane Spizzirro, of the Career Design Lab; and Interviewing Skills for Career Growth, led by Steve Safier, Ph.D. On August 3, students will also have the opportunity to get professional LinkedIn headshots to share to their professional networks. Building Your Personal Brand concludes the series August 4. To learn more about the Columbia University Summer Session, visit summer.sps.columbia.edu or explore other co-curricular activities.


Your New York City Experience: A Global Opportunity
The Columbia University Summer Session takes a unique approach to learning on and off-campus. It offers curated educational, social, and cultural experiences to connect students with one another and Columbia faculty as well as opportunities to explore New York landmarks and institutions.